Let the Shark Week countdown begin! The hit Discovery Channel series will be swimming its way into our homes once again when the jaw-chomping programs return for a weeklong production starting Sunday, Aug. 10. This marks the critically acclaimed series’ 27th season running on cable television, which makes Shark Week the longest-running program event in the history of TV. Now that’s something to clap your fins together for!
That’s not the only fun Shark Week fact we have for you. We’ve compiled 12 astounding truths about your favorite fishy series that will leave you craving more as we prepare for the 2014 run. Ready to sink your teeth into all things Shark Week?
1. Why was Shark Week created?: According to reports, Discovery Channel was looking for fresh ways to catch the attention of viewers. That’s when it dawned upon the network that our society has an intense curiosity and fascination about the oceans' greatest predator: sharks.
With summer nearing and Steven Spielberg’s thriller “Jaws” still making beachgoers hesitate to dive into the surf, Discovery Channel decided to create its first weeklong event and dedicate it to sharks. Thus Shark Week was born.
2. Shark Week was a smashing success: Audiences went crazy with shark fever, nearly doubling Discovery Channel’s normal prime-time average ratings. According to the channel, the production shows no sign of slowing down in popularity and remains one of TV’s most popular annual events.
3. Can you guess how many shark lovers tuned in during the 2013 program?: The 26th annual program was watched by 53.17 million total viewers, ranking as the highest rated Shark Week ever.
4. #SharkWeek: The Discovery Channel series was dubbed the most social programming event to date in 2013 with 4.3 million @SharkWeek tweets, nearly 3.4 million discovery.com Shark Week video streams and 21.8 million people discussing Shark Week via Facebook.
5. What was the most popular program on Shark Week since the premiere in 1988? After finding out that the year 2013 was Shark Week’s most successful, it didn’t surprise us to learn that a program from that year was the show’s most-watched episode.
“Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives” was the top program in viewers, and therefore Shark Week followed up with “Megalodon: The New Evidence.”
The second installment will air Friday, Aug. 15, at 10 p.m. EDT and will follow Collin Drake as he returns to share new details of the case, presenting "shocking" new evidence of the existence of Megalodon. Megalodon is an enormous prehistoric shark that is rumored to still be roaming the ocean blue.
Following “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives” in popularity were “Ocean of Fear” (2007), “Anatomy of a Shark Bite” (2003), “Return of Jaws” (2013), “Voodoo Sharks” (2013), “Great White Serial Killer” (2013), “Ultimate Air Jaws” (2010), “Great White Invasion” (2011), which tied with “Jaws Comes Home” (2011) at number 8 and “Air Jaws: Shark of South Africa” (2011).
6. Who hosted the first shark week?: The Discovery Channel series was without a host until 1994, when “Jaws” author Peter Benchley was asked to present the series. Seems fitting, no? Benchley introduced each program from “Jaws” movie locations.
7. What other celebrities hosted Shark Week?: Zoologist Nigel Marven hosted from 2000-2002, the “American Chopper” cast hosted in 2004, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from “Mythbusters” hosted in 2005, Mike Row from “Dirty Jobs” hosted in 2006 and 2008, Les Stroud from “Survivorman” hosted in 2007 and 2009, Craig Ferguson hosted in 2010, Andy Samberg hosted in 2011, Philip DeFranco hosted in 2012 and Josh Wolf hosted in 2013.
8. But did any celebrities swim with the sharks?: Um, of course! For Shark Week’s 15th birthday in 2002 a slew of celebrities jumped into shark-filled waters to celebrate the occasion. The shark swimmers included Julie Bowen from “Modern Family,” singer/host Mark McGrath, singer Brian McKnight and model/athlete Gabrielle Reece.
9. Shark Week made history in 2001: While filming the program “Air Jaws,” Shark Week made history when the program caught a never-before-seen behavior of a great white breaching on camera. The animal launched itself nearly 15 feet above the water. This was ranked as the fourth most-watched Shark Week show of all time.
10. What was the first-ever Shark Week show?: “Caged in Fear” aired on Discover Channel on July 17, 1988, at 9 p.m. The program focused around the storyline of a new, motorized cage as it was tested for its resistance against shark attacks.
11. What was the first live Shark Week program?: The first live show, “Live From a Shark Cage,” was hosted by journalist Forrest Sawyer and featured cinematographer Al Giddings.
12. Sink your teeth into this!: In 2003 Shark Week featured the second-highest rated program, “Anatomy of A Shark Bite,” which featured underwater footage of an actual shark attack. While it was filming, a shark specialist was bit on the calf, leaving his leg a mangled, bloody mess.
Do you think you’re ready for the 2014 series of “Shark Week”? Sound off in the comments section below what you’re most excited for and check out the programming for the 27th season here.